Bring on the New Season.
And so, as an indian summer keeps the sun out for just a little longer we begin the turn, with mixed feelings, to the changing of the season.
Once more, we first weigh up our losses and the quiet ache of giving up those pleasures of sun and warmth… the loss of light shirts and cool jackets, summer colour ties and linen pocket squares; the dilemma of.. to wear socks or not; the ease and comfort of short cut tailored shorts; light summer floral scents; sunglasses; open doors and windows, and seasonal refreshments.
As we now concede to the passing of these joys (possibly in the reverse order of the above..) we mix and mingle into seasonal transition and look forward to the beauty of Autumn and those little uncertainties of what the weather will offer us, and our outfit for the day.
Almost as mutually as we start to welcome early evenings, cooler not so bright days, fresher air and autumn colours we at the same time wait; we wait with anticipation for that moment when the conditions of the new season truly warrant the full abundance of winter wear: wool jumpers, cardigans, perhaps a new coat to display, winter jackets and tweeds, and, equal to each of these, and quite possibly one of the most luxurious of little seasonal sartorial pleasures that never ceases to be a joy to wear… a winter scarf.
There is more than a little indulgence in the wearing of a winter scarf. It is not just the warmth and comfort of the fabric snugly fitted around your neck, or the richness (or subtlety, if you prefer) of it's colours; it is possibly not even the deliberate selection of a coat that allows you to wear a scarf.
It is all this, and more.
The scarf is a sartorial addition - a complement to your outfit, to your look; it is a statement of style. It is an item of apparel that you don't just don, or simply put on; it is something you engage with, almost covet; and, in it's simplicity, offers many ways in-which to wear.
For, while there is only one way to button a shirt or pull on a pair trousers, only one way to wear a jacket (albeit buttoned or unbuttoned (and don't even think about wearing the collars up)).. there is a list of options for your scarf.
With your scarf you consider it's width and length, whether worn in or out of your coat or jacket, worn long or short, folded or knotted, and, if you have a selection, which one will best set off and complement your outfit of the day.
There is much here that is in common with the tie and like the tie the scarf is a simple and permissible gentleman's accessory; it allows for a little additional style, grace and personality that isn't overtly showy or surplus to requirements, it is easy to wear, unquestionably accepted and serves a purpose.
Like the tie, the scarf is steeped in history and heritage. In history it dates back as far as Ancient Egypt and a 1000 years BC where it was a luxurious intricately woven adornment - probably in linen; later recorded in the Han dynasty China - probably in silk, where it was used to denote military rank; through to the Roman era where it was a purposeful linen for managing perspiration across the brow. And so over the years it followed many and varied incarnations, trends and purposes.
Jump forward to a more recent past and Croatian soldiers in and around the 1600's were notable for wearing scarves - for warmth at first, then for rank; from here it was reinterpreted by the French into the Cravat, where it also became a political signifier; at the same time, from India, Cashmere scarves began travelling west. Towards the end of the 1700's it is recorded that the first knitted scarf was produced in Poland by the Duke of Krakow. It is from here we begin to see the scarf resembling something we know and recognise today in western wear, an accessory, becoming rooted in fashion house production from the 1800's onwards.
Today we have a mixture of scarves in a mixture of fabrics, for a mixture of seasons, and a mixture of occasions. Silks, for finer-wear, evening's out, black-tie outfits; linen for summer evenings, cooler times and the in-between of seasons; and luxurious wool, cashmere and (ethical) Angora for the autumn and winter.
Such is the desire for many to wear a scarf that we have these all-year-round constructs enabling it to become an essential part of your wardrobe. It is the ultimate layering garment, adding colour or conservatism to any outfit and dapperness to any look.
If the scarf is a pleasure you have overlooked, forgotten, or somehow had trouble embracing.. here we offer you an invitation to adopt this beautiful addition to your accessorising, start to feel the warmth, embrace the passion of wearing, and set yourself apart.